Live Review: Skunk Anansie - O2 Academy, Newcastle 01/09/2019
Skunk Anansie hit the O2 Academy at maximum speed, when their UK tour stopped by the city of Newcastle at the start of this month.
The sound of the late, great Keith Flynt’s voice rang out across the academy as ‘Firestarter’ got the crowd pumped and bouncing for the long awaited return of Skin and Skunk Anansie to celebrate their 25th anniversary and nobody was left disappointed after all this time. Skin appeared on stage looking like she’d just done a couple of rounds in the crystal maze sporting a costume made of what looked like gold and silver tin foil tickets, but Skin being Skin she made it look spectacular.
Opening with ‘Charlie Big Potato’ it was impossible to take your eyes off her as she threw herself around the stage and then by the third song she had thrown herself into the crowd and was surfing along the hands of the adoring people in the middle of the standing section.
Once back up on stage the band kick into one of the old classics ‘I Can Dream’ from the 1995 album ‘Paranoid and Sunburnt’. Skin’s interaction with the crowd is up there with the best that I’ve experienced at the O2 Academy in Newcastle, within the next few songs on the setlist she was back in the mix but this time it was walking across the raised hands of the room.
The band have always been known for their politically charged lyrics and before they played ‘God Only Loves You’ Skin pointed out that the whole band is made up of children of immigrants and reminded us all to help protect people who come to our country via no fault of their own and who make this place a home and then dedicated the song to everyone who helps fight the rise of modern day fascism with a real emotional and empowering speech to which the crowd gave a huge response. The setlist was filled with the band’s biggest hits like ‘Weak’, ‘Hedonism’ and of course they didn’t miss out the very fitting ‘Yes It’s Fucking Political’ before finishing the set with the superb ‘Tear The Place Up’ to which the whole venue was bouncing so much the floor boards felt like they were moving to the music.
The night marked the 59th birthday of bass player Cast Lewis, so the whole band and some of the crew adorned t-shirts with Cass’s face on for the encore which started with a serenade of ‘Happy Birthday’ for Cass. Skin then teased the room with the start of the huge ‘Selling Jesus’ before deciding to finish the night with one of their biggest and clearly most popular tracks ‘Little Baby Swastika’. It’s hard to top a live show by these guys and after 25 years they showed that they still have a lot of energy to give back to the fans for the foreseeable.
Words and Photography by Adam Barnsley